10 Common Medical Misconceptions


10 common medical misconceptions from Dr. Rachel Vreeman’s new book Don’t Cross Your Eyes . . . They’ll Get Stuck That Way!

1.      You Should Drink At Least 8 Glasses Of Water Per Day

Apparently there is no good medical evidence that suggest you need that much water.

2.      Muscles Turn To Fat When You Don’t Exercise

Muscle tissue and fat cells can’t convert into each other. Muscle cells shrink as you stop exercising. The number of fat cells always stays the same. It’s just a matter of how full they are. New research found that the number of fat cells an individual has is determined before the baby is actually born. Lifestyle of the mother is a very determining factor here.

3.      Reading In Dim Light Damages Your Eyes

A study, published in the British Medical Journal, revealed that reading in low light does not damage eyes, but rather causes eyestrain. Because eyestrain most likely reverses once you stop straining them, it is a common cause for diminished visual acuity. Therefore I still do not recommend reading in dim light.

4.      Eating At Night Makes You Fat

Recent research has shown that your body doesn’t process food differently at different times of the day. The total amount of calories that you take in, and how much you exercise during the day, is what affects your weight. So you should technically not gain more weight by eating at night. The fact that most people choose foods higher in calories at night versus during the day poses a different challenge here. Chinese medicine also says that certain foods should not be eaten after 6-7 PM because they generally interfere with healthy metabolism of the liver.

5.      Tilt Your Head Back To Stop A Nosebleed

Keep your head above your heart, tilt slightly forward, and pinch your nose below the bone to stop the bleeding. Tilting your head back just causes the blood to flow down your throat and, if at all, poses a choking hazard.

6.      Eating Turkey Makes You Drowsy

Turkey does not contain any more tryptophan than chicken or beef. So unless there is something else in turkey that makes you sleepy it’s probably more the amount of calories you consume on Thanksgiving (or do you really get drowsy after a turkey sandwich?).

7.      Uncover A Wound At Night To Heal It

New cells thrive better in a moist environment. You’ll also run a lesser risk of causing scarring. Just make sure you keep the wound clean and oxygenated.

8.      Vitamin C Cures the Common Cold

In 1970 Linus Pauling postulated this in his book “Vitamin C and the Common Cold”. Unfortunately there is still no scientific evidence for this. There is scientific evidence though that taking 200 milligrams of vitamin C every day reduced the time spent sick from a cold from about 12 to 11 days per year. It also seemed to cut the incidence of colds in people who were under extreme stress by 50%.

9.      Cracking Your Knuckles Causes Arthritis

Joints are surrounded by synovial fluid, which is a lubricating and nourishing. Synovial fluid contains fats, nutrients to maintain bone health and dissolved gases. Cracking the knuckles stretches the capsule that surrounds the fluid. Stretching the capsule also increases its volume. This lessens the pressure inside. Gases expand under lower pressure and forming bubbles that eventually pop. Arthritis is a degenerative process of very different nature.

10.  Don’t Cross Your Eyes Or They’ll Get Stuck That Way

Well, we all do know this. Don’t we…?